Tonight, we showed the world, once again, that we are still that shining city on the hill. Ignoring world-wide pleas to do otherwise, we embraced our most basic values and principles by executing a mentally disabled woman.
Teresa Lewis had an IQ of 72. That's just 2 points above the number needed to be officially deemed "mentally retarded."
But that did not stop the good patriots of Virginia from executing her. "She was involved in a murder," they cried, "and by God, she must be killed--Do not deny us the vicarious thrill of killing in the name of justice!"
Lewis wasn't the first mentally disabled person to be executed. We've proudly killed many others before her. Here's a short list of a few of them:
Jerome Bowden, IQ: 65, Executed: June 4, 1986.
He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. When the state granted a last-minute, ninety-day stay of execution to have his mental capacity evaluated, Bowden's lawyers rushed to his cell with the news, but Bowden did not understand the meaning of a "stay." He asked his attorney if the stay meant he could watch television that night.143 "Jerome has no real concept of death," his attorney ruefully concluded.Oliver Cruz, IQ: 64, Executed: August 9, 2000
He was functionally illiterate, reading and writing below the third grade level. He dropped out of school after failing seventh grade three times. He supported himself with menial work and odd jobs because he could not understand how to fill out a job application. Cruz also suffered from severe dependency on drugs and alcohol; indeed, he was severely intoxicated at the time of his crime.Morris Odell Mason, IQ: 62-66, Executed: June 1985
A paranoid schizophrenic with a mental age of eight, Morris Mason had been in and out of mental hospitals for much of his life and had a history of violent acts. When he was twenty-one, he began to hear voices in his head ordering him to "do things, break things, tear things, and destroy things."Luis Mata, IQ: 63-70, Executed: December 21, 1996
After Mason was charged with murder, a state psychiatrist who interviewed him found him "seemingly uncaring as to his fate. He offers no complaints and seems to have no full association [sic] of the gravity of his situation."
Luis Mata and his fifteen siblings often went hungry as children. "Malnourishment was a daily fact of life."191 The children were also beaten viciously by their alcoholic father. Luis, in particular, suffered his father's wrath: he was beaten with electric cords, kicked, and punched. At age six, Luis fell from a wagon and fractured his skull. His head swelled "like a balloon," but his impoverished family sought no medical treatment for him. After his fall his behavior became increasingly odd and unpredictable: he "began to have seizures like a jumping bean."193 He talked to himself and spoke of visits from space aliens.
"Luis also seemed a lot dumber after the accident," his sister recalled. Luis had to repeat first grade three times.195 A psychiatrist who examined him when he was an adult reported that "his ability to express himself and.... to recognize the meaning of common words were at the level of a nine- to ten-year-old child." He did not understand the difference between north and south or east and west, or the number of weeks in a year.